Iraq – Urbanization threatens heritage buildings in Baghdad
Location: Bab-Al-Sheikh, Baghdad, Iraq.
Source: A24 Baghdad
Restriction: A24 subscribers
The number of heritage buildings and homes has decreased due to urban expansion in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, especially the beach areas on the Tigris River. Many of these buildings with distinctive and unique decorations date back about 200 years. Residents of the heritage areas resented the continued destruction of their monuments. Heritage specialists highlighted the importance of preserving this heritage. They accused successive governments and the concerned authorities of failing to develop and maintain these buildings, which represent an important part of the history of the Iraqi people.
Soundbite (Faisal Rikan – heritage specialist):
“These heritage buildings are a significant part of Iraqi history that must be preserved. Therefore, the government should develop a programmed plan to preserve and stay away from archaeological sites so as not to lose antiquities, and to restore them in the new civilized form so as not to lose their archaeological features. There are specialists who monitor the process continuously.”
Soundbite (Jalil Al-Lami – heritage specialist):
“The historical and archaeological sites in Iraq do not receive much attention, and the reason is the incompetence of the concerned authorities responsible for these buildings, streets, and historical monuments in Baghdad or in other provinces. The Iraqi government and the relevant departments are responsible for maintaining and developing these buildings.”
Soundbite (Abu Ali – owner of a barber shop, lives in a heritage neighborhood):
“This heritage building is old. People are not as interested in it as they used to be. Before they refused to demolish my heritage house, but now it is very ordinary.”
Soundbite (Abu Muhammad – a citizen who lives in heritage neighborhoods):
“They demolished all the buildings that are 100, 90, or 80 years old. We want reconstruction and modernity. The state did not care about the old houses, whether they were heritage or not.”